Do You Colour In The Tube Map To Remember Where You've Been?

M@
By M@
Do You Colour In The Tube Map To Remember Where You've Been?

Are you geeky enough to highlight the tube map?

Highlighting the tube map, like a champ

Transport for London's pocket tube map includes 270 Underground stations, 112 Overground stations, 45 DLR stations, 39 tram stops, 23 TfL Rail stations and two danglehubs. How does one keep track of where one's been?

If you're a total geek, like me, you colour in the stations you've visited.

Tube map with highlights
My complete record of TfL station visits, as of October 2019

This scrappy little map lives in my bag, along with a highlighter pen. It shows every TfL station (or tram stop) I've ever used. That is to say, places I've either touched in or touched out (or both). Just passing through does not count in my strict, personal system. (The colours mean nothing... I simply lost my green highlighter at one point and only had an orange pen as backup.)

As you can see, I've inked off most of the tube, barring some pockets to the north-east and north-west. This doesn't mean I've never visited these parts of town; I live vaguely north-west near the M25, so I normally drive or take buses to the Ruislips, Watfords, Harrows and Eppings of this world, rather than catching trains in and out again. As editor-at-large of Londonist, though, I do feel a bit guilty that I've yet to alight at Ickenham, frolic at Fairlop, or sample the delights of Hounslow West's ticket hall.

Yup, bagged everything in the centre. But somehow missed Hackney Downs.

Other services have yet to feel the full, electromagnetic force of my contactless card. The tendrils of the Overground and DLR need some close attention. TfL Rail (to one day become the Elizabeth line) is begging to be explored. The map I'm using doesn't even show the western section through Ealing and Hayes. I need to update. Most spurned of all is the Tramlink. I've completed only around a fifth of the stops. Can you imagine the exciting day out in Croydon that awaits me, as I endeavour to fill in the gaps?

I posted this map on Londonist's Roundel Ramblings Facebook group. Turns out, I'm not alone in my geeky record keeping. Several readers expressed relief that they were not the only ones doing this. One reader has graduated to a full-blown spreadsheet, including the names of all the National Rail stations in London. Others mark a tube map when hunting down Mark Wallinger's labyrinth artwork (one at every tube station). I must admit, I do this as well, on a separate map.

Reader James Burton has taken the exercise nation-wide, and even colours in the route of the rails as well as the stations — he literally has a track record in these things. Champ of us all is Mark Fitzmaurice who says: "I just get my journey history emailed to me as I know I go to every station on the network at least once per quarter."

So, do you keep track of which stations you've visited? Is this fairly common? Speak up in the comments if you'd like to share your own nerdy network notes.

Last Updated 28 October 2019